B2B Wins #17: Content Remains King
B2B marketers continue to invest high ROI activities
The odds of economic disaster appear to be waning. Despite big tech making headlines regarding layoffs, those numbers are small in the overall scheme of things. Last week's jobs report contained eye-popping resiliency. And marketers seem to be on board with a brighter, if not cautious, future.
Given a global economic apocalypse is not imminent, B2B marketers can come out of their bunkers and begin to think about what's next
To help discover what's top of mind, OneTrust and Chief Marketers surveyed you folks for their 2023 Chief Marketer B2B Marketing Outlook Survey. Here's what they found.
Budgets are holding steady
I was surprised to see that the vast majority of marketers (79%) are seeing their budgets hold steady or grow. As we all know, when CFOs sharpen their pencils they often sharpen them into spears to throw at marketing budgets.
But we seem to be collectively avoiding such nastiness. I’d like to think that finance has become enlightened in understanding the long-term implications of savaging marketing budgets. But that just seems ridiculous.
Of course, all is not rosy. Finance folks love ROI calculations and that remains one of the toughest tasks for marketing execs. Not only is attribution very difficult to demonstrate but the forecasts put forth by marketers universally get eye rolls from finance execs.
That said, budget resilience is encouraging despite the occasional gloomy reports.
Content Retains the Throne
When marketers are asked about the highest ROI channels Content Marketing remains the highest ROI activity by a large margin. Content Marketing was selected by 62% of marketers followed by Live Events (41%) and Email (39%).
It’s not really a surprise that content marketing remains a key focus. I was surprised at how resilient email remains. Folks have been calling out the death of email for years. Apparently, marketers (and their target segments) didn’t get the message.
Of course, the content marketing game is getting more challenging. According to McKinsey, personalized content, which used to be nice to have, is now an expectation of users. 46% of survey respondents indicated that they’re not using personalized targeting. That’s a glass-half-empty view. I suppose a better way of looking at that would be that 54% are using personalized targeting.
An Oldie but Goodie: Blog Content
While folks love to create infographics, case studies, and research reports, the most effective content is reported to be Articles/Blog Posts.
It’s amazing how resilient the Blog remains. Long-form content demonstrating the expertise of the team, the understanding of customers’ pain, and the solutions that lead to the promised land remain the most compelling content from a value perspective.
It’s no surprise that video is a close second. We live in a TikTok world and having your content where the customers are going makes sense. That said, I don’t get it. It may be a generational thing. There is
a fair amount only grey in my beard.
When I want to learn something I can scan written content a lot easier than I can scan a video. Even watching videos at double speed, I’m forced to actually pay attention to the whole thing.
Text wins for scanability which seems to tie to the results of the survey. Audio wins for playing while commuting which surprises me that it’s so low in the survey results (14%).
Martech is dead. /s
Martech stack rationalization/simplification is another forever on the horizon prediction. And yet, the storm never arrives.
Marketers continue to invest in Martech and this year’s survey demonstrates that content creation tech is the place that’s getting the most focus.
It’s no surprise as content creation technology is increasing its capabilities by leaps and bounds. One has to look no further than the hype-storm around ChatGPT to see the promise of emerging tech in content marketing.
Privacy also rules
No discussion of content would be complete without considering how one is managing the data around people who read content.
At the same time that folks are asking for personalized experiences they are also demanding that you be good custodians of the personal data that they share with you.
The vast majority of marketers are managing this in-house while about a third are outsourcing compliance out to a third party. Most distressing about these numbers are the 5% who aren’t addressing compliance at all. Yikes.
LinkedIn: The only B2B Social Network
I’ve stopped posting to Twitter for business purposes. It seems like most of you have also stopped.
LinkedIn is by far the preferred place for B2B marketers to find prospects and customers. It’s no surprise.
The two key takeaways of this survey were as follows:
Continue to invest in your content marketing capabilities. The best B2B execs are constantly learning and in order to attract their attention you’re going to have to educate them.
With the continued resilience of budgets, we have an opportunity to accelerate through whatever economic malaise may be before us. Keep at it. Drive forward. Grow.